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cleaning cases without a tumbler UPDATE

badwrenchbadwrench Member Posts: 1,000 ✭✭✭✭
I found an old rock tumbler in storage and I think it will work for case cleaning duties. While not very big, (maybe hold 100 cases and media) it's free.

Thanks for the tips, guys[:D]

PS, if I shouldn't try using a rock tumbler for case cleaning (with case cleaning media, of course) I would appreciate any experts letting me know.


  • haroldchrismeyerharoldchrismeyer Member Posts: 2,213 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Brass cleaner and a rag??? Send them to someone that has a tumbler, and let them tumble them, and send them back?? I will do that if you want. Might even have some extra to throw in for you.
  • ern98ern98 Member Posts: 1,725 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Steel wool, 000 or better, powder solvent and lots of finger cramp. Find the money and build or buy a tumbler. They aren't all that expensive and they run for years. When loading for handguns it means that you expect to shoot alot of rounds, otherwise you'd just buy new. If many shots are expected then buy the tumbler. Tumblers don't just clean the outside of the case as the inside gets scrubbed also as it runs.
  • PinheadPinhead Member Posts: 1,485 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    0000 steel wool and the case shucked up in a battery powered screwdriver. Use a wooden dowel with the steel wool wrapped around it for the inside of the case. Can also clean the primer pocket the same way. Warning, this method is time consuming and labor intensive. If you want the cases really brite, Flitz oe Brasso and a cleaning patch and the battery screwdrive also work great for that.
  • bpostbpost Member Posts: 32,400 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Don't use BRASSO on reloading brass. It has amonia in it and it will weaken the brass.
  • chunkstylechunkstyle Member Posts: 2,463 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Get some cob media and a sturdy plastic bottle. Throw bottle in dryer on the no heat setting. Voila.

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
    ~Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here

    "Our enemies...never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."
    ~President George W. Bush
  • PinheadPinhead Member Posts: 1,485 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    1958, you may be right about the Brasso but I have never had a failure that I can trace back to the Brasso. Not saying your wrong , just that I haven't had the experience yet. I don't use the stuff on anything but the worst cases that are badly corroded and then I usually finish them up in a tumberler with dry corn cob media. Most of the time I use the Flitz or GunBrite.
  • JustCJustC Member Posts: 16,057 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    1 part white vinegar to 2-3parts boiling water (filtered is better). Throw the cases in and let them soak, shaking occasionaly and stirring. The filtered water contains no minerals that will leave spots on the cases as it dries. This way gets off wax and lube fast. Adding a bit of non-oil based or citrus oil based cleaners also gets carbon out of the cases too( I don't trust the citrus oil to not affect the powder). I tumble only after they get dirty enough.

    why chase the game when the bullet can get em from here?....
    Got Balistics?
  • badlandsbutchbadlandsbutch Member Posts: 188 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Try KaBoom, available at Walmart. Works fast and well on brass.
  • badlandsbutchbadlandsbutch Member Posts: 188 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Nothing wrong with a "sidewinder" tumbler compared to a "vibratory" tumbler, will work fine. Many choices for media, depends on what you want your brass to look like and how quickly you want it cleaned/polished.
    Brasso, steel wool, rags are a PITA. Try KaBoom, you'll be amazed how well it works, dry cases then tumble.
  • AdamsQuailHunterAdamsQuailHunter Member Posts: 1,756 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Hello "badwrench":)

    I am better known for shotguns --- especially Damascus barreled ones --- than rifles and handguns. However, I do have a number of specimens of rifles and handguns in my safe.

    I have been "loading" black powder revolvers for nearly 60 years and taking care of skunks in my Grandmothers (plural) chicken house and using shot-loads for snakes, rats, and squirrels (in pear and pecan trees.

    I have not tried KaBoom --- but I definitely am going to stop by Wal-Mart tomorrow and get some. I use both "side-winder" (did rock tumbling at one time) and vibratory tumblers. Vibratory tumblers are faster than "side-winders". I buy tumbling "media" at Tractor Supply. They sell corn-cob media for the bottom of animal cages and it is less expensisve there than ordering "tumbling-media" from some gun products dealers. I hit it with a pretty good load of "Flitz" and let it vibrate for about an hour before I place any cases into it.
    After loading the rounds, I put then it into another vibratory tumbler loaded with ground black walnut hulls and run then for about 30 minutes to an hour. There are those on here who are going to have a screaming fit about that, but that is what the ammo manufacturer's do and I have never had a round go off in 40 years --- so you "experts" can keep your comments to yourself.

    Best Regards:)
    AdamsquailHunter on GunBroker, BearToothBullets, & ShotgunWorld forums.
  • gunnut505gunnut505 Member Posts: 10,290
    edited November -1
    Hello AdamsQuail, I wonder if you know about what range of pressure your tumbled loaded cases are producing?
    As you know (or not); tumbling loaded rounds can cause the powder granules to bash into one another, which makes smaller pieces of powder, which gives an increased surface area, which drives up pressures when fired.
    Try this experiment and you will see what I mean; buy 2 boxes of el cheapo 22lr ammo. Tumble 1 box along with your loaded rounds for whatever time period you use. Leave the other box alone.
    When finished tumbling, remove a bullet from one of the 22lr shells and dump the powder onto an index card.
    Do the same with the untumbled box.
    Put the cards next to one another and examine the powder; the untouched powder will be in a recognizable state-big chunks of gunpowder.
    The tumbled powder will be finer, almost dust.

    Or disregard all the tumbling and chronograph some loaded-but-untumbled rounds, and compare the velocities to tumbled rounds.
    I think you might not tumble loaded rounds for as long as you have been doing after this experiment.

    The point is that the rounds may not explode while tumbling, but that the pressures generated by the greater surface area of powder may cause damage to you or your guns.

    I'm not an expert, but I play one on GB

    "Qui non est hodie cras minus aptus erit" --OVID
  • 1911a1-fan1911a1-fan Member Posts: 51,193 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    interesting idea there gunnut, have you actually tried this, and have data?

    being a sceptic i have to wonder how this theory would actually turn out, even if it did break down the powder, it would not change the weight of the powder, but on the other side i could see how it could possible change the boiler room in the case by reducing the volume

    you got me thinking now, even though i do not tumble loaded rounds, i know those that do, and i will have to try this now, next time i rum some brass i will tumble a few .45's, and take notes, then chronograph them separately

  • JustCJustC Member Posts: 16,057 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I can see a tumbler breaking powder grains, but a vibrator should not do that. I can also see a tumbler breaking the granules and changing burn rate to the faster side.

    why chase the game when the bullet can get em from here?....
    Got Balistics?
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